Saturday, May 21, 2011

To 100 ...and Beyond!

On May 24, 1914, Elizabetta Cecelia Bevacqua was born in a little mining town in Tabasco, Colorado, the third child of Attilio and Lucretia Bevacqua.In the early 1900's, her parents had emigrated from Calabria, the most southern tip of Italy. They came separately and years apart. Her father made a fortune in the oil and mining business and sent for his wife and young son. Together, they had four more children.  Atillio's luck ran out in Colorado and they lost it all. He gathered his family up and moved to Dallas  where he had originally made his mark.
Attilio, Amelia, Josephine and Elissa

Elissa about 5
Elissa, as she came to be known, was remarkable from the start. She was exotically beautiful and full of energy and curiosity.  Her life has not always been easy. After the families sojourn back to Dallas, her father left his family when she was five. Her mother struggled to raise her 5 children by herself in a foreign land with limited personal resources. She was a skilled seamstress and found work at Neiman Marcus . it was especially difficult for her because she did not speak English. Some italian friends took her and her children under their wings and hired Lucrezia as a master seamstress in their furrier business. This helped provide for her brood but she could not properly feed and clothe them. She made the heartbreaking decision to place two of the children in the care of St. Joseph's Orphanage in Dallas. Not to be adopted, but to be cared for until she could take care of them herself. This took many years.
Mom and her little sister, Josephine, were placed in the orphanage in the  care of  the nuns. My grandmother took several streetcars to  visit them every week without fail. It must have been so difficult and heart wrenching for all of them. It has left an indelible mark on the fabric of their lives. But they survived .
Mom with her friends at St.  Joseph's.
Elissa and Amelia
When she was a young woman, my mother came to California to find her father. He had been living here for many years, had remarried, and had a young son. During this trip, my mother’s destiny was sealed. On a sunny Sunday afternoon she went with a friend to a barbeque and there she met her future. My father fell in love with her at first site. He always said it was her beauty that captured his attention first, but the deal was sealed when she ordered a chocolate shake made with chocolate ice cream. He knew he had met his soul mate.  When she left to go back to Dallas, my father took her to the train and ran past her car waving goodbye as far as his legs would take him. Being the romantic, impulsive man that he was, a few weeks later he went to Dallas to surprise her. Her walked into the store where she worked and asked her to go with him for a milkshake . He proposed on the spot.

The rest is history!

On her 90th birthday, my sister and brother-in-law had a party for Mom with many of her friends and family. My sister and I took her to Hawaii a few days later. She had never had a desire to visit Hawaii but she ended up loving it. We had so much fun and so many happy memories from that trip.

Blowing out 90 candles

Waikiki beauty at 90

On her 96th birthday, my sister took Mom, her daughter, Ria, and myself to Italy for an adventure. Again, it was a time we all will never forget.
Tina, Mom and Julie in cooking class in Tuscany

Ria, Julie, Tina

Throwing a coin in the Trevi fountain, to return to Rome again!

Mom never ceases to amaze all of us with her energy, her passion for life, her love and loyalty to family and friends. She is engaging and engaged. Everyone that meets her falls in love, just like our Dad over 70 years ago.
Still a beauty at 97

Happy 97th Birthday, Mom. I Love You and look forward to many years ahead. You are my inspiration and I pray that I enjoy the good health and longevity that you have been blessed with. Keep on being the free spirit that we all want to be!!!!!!!
It's never too late to try out a Harley!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

My Ancient Companions

Lately, I have been drawn to all manner of things interesting and wild. My morning walks along the shores of Crystal Cove and Pelican Hill give me ample time to ponder the mysteries of nature.

I love the wet fog against my skin and hair and the wild wind that sweeps all my cares to sea. The pelicans fly in formation back and forth over my head.

They seem intuitively  to know that I walk peacefully below them. They glide along the cliffs that hug the sea and go from one end to the other back and forth.

They skim across the top of the ocean looking for breakfast and dive down to catch their prize in their pouches.

I have always loved to watch these prehistoric birds. Their lineage dates back 30 to 40 million years. They look ancient in the morning light. One can imagine other prehistoric creatures feeding along the waters edge.

 Once a few years ago on the first day of January, my husband and I rode our tandem on these cliffs. The pelicans took flight with us and stayed with us in formation the whole way. It was an ethereal, magical event that seemed to say they too were welcoming in a New Year. I felt so connected with them that day and everyday.

It doesn’t take much to make me realize that there are treasures in every moment of everyday that are there for the taking.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Memories of Motherhood

Nonna Cevola and Daddy
Nonna Bevacqua and Luigi

Nonna Cevola and me 1941
Mom and Auntie and me  1939
Lisa and me 1965

Lisa and Nonna 2006

Steve, Paul and me 1967
Steve and me 1965
Steve and me 2003

Paul and me 1966

Paul and me 1984
Daddy, me, Gretchen , Mom and Dick 1967
Gretchen and Piper 2008
Gretchen and Julie 2003

Gina  and Chanel 1993
Gina and Chanel 1999
Gina and I 2005
Gina and Chanel 1993

Paul, Kota, Roshan , Paul 2001
Sol, Roshan, Rem and Sax 2010
Gretchen , Gina, Lisa amd Julie 1983
Priya and Nina 2006